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Think you are on the money there. Many forums, not just 4wd stuff, have fallen by the wayside due to 'Faceache'. I joined this site many years ago with the sole purpose of going on 4wd trips and meet new people, which happened on a regular basis in the early years. It has all changed now, no trips other than annual gatherings, as I suspect many of the early forum members are now doing their 'own stuff together' as a result of friendships formed here. Other issues, such as liability etc, may have also played a part in the demise of trips here....
I still applaud James in keeping the forum going and appreciate that revenue is required, re adverts, for him to keep the site operational. For me, whilst I visit the site every few days or so, I am not prepared to pay the $$$ to go add free as the site no longer has the appeal it once had, partly due to the lack of trips plus any topics of interest seem to go totally off track with so much unrelated crap posted.
So @allanmac this is something I am keen to solve. I know 4x4earthers organise trips on FB, or through PMs and a wide range of other means. Some of the other sites have struggled to organise trips, partially because of the liability issue. I am keen to get more people heading out, especially the newbies, because they are critical to keeping access to tracks.